archival testimony fragments / minersong

for Marcell Géza Takács

they called me elder / now that I am

[—by ISMMG Corporation. During this mandatory orientation and training, we will supply you with basic mining gear, as well as information about the latest—]

useless scrap metal / now folded under shale,
trapped in pockets of compressed ground. I
exhaled gas, exhaled until there was no more
waiting for friends, waiting even for miners

[—the remnants of entities which are sometimes referred to as ‘living ships,’ though their exact nature is unknown. Look out for iridescence, layered enamel in a peacock hue: small scraps of 10cm square may fetch as much as 3mil—]

under weighed ground / but nobody came, ever

[—to wear your headpiece at all times: you might hear voices. Even when affected, most miners suffer no permanent damage. Your risk and liability paperwork indicates—]

but once I changed shape
to the reverberation, navigated
the outflung stars, numbers
confirming to pathways calculated by mothers

[= my question? I have heard of ghosts—
    voices, trapped in bubbles of gas
    between layers of shale =] 

Whose voice will find me now /
call me back, call me councilor, call me
elder, a woman of bent metal

[—rumors of larger fragments so far unsubstantiated, but investing in latest models of gear is advisable, in case you come across—]

call me like before, a carrier of troops / avoider
of peace, soldier in a named shape
of sung metal and starflung roads               

[—to answer: is it worth running a risk of psychological damage for a fairly substantial possibility of profit?—]

but like flames in the wind,
war after war has been extinguished,
until there was no need for us. On world upon world

[= how can we rob her
    do you not hear her speak
    of the old wars—cannot you hear? =]

they shifted tectonic plates, terraformed
the destruction they wrought, erased into oblivion /
Ash–choked rivers
turned volcano glass

[= I forget what language first birthed me,
   what song engendered my birth =]

[—we never before had a case of someone this severely affected during training. No, insurance will not cover—]

magma had swallowed
the steel domes where we had been sung. /
I forget what language first birthed me,
what song engendered my birth,
my mothers’ voice
must have lent me a form

[—independent mining is strictly prohibited. This planet belongs to ISMMG Corporation. Offenders will be—]

From time to time
miners, I think, hear me,
humans who could have sung
ships to life in the old days, become our mothers,
sisters / now lost between folds
of shale and obsidian
a song has yet to find me

[=here to purchase mining gear. No, it is none of your business=]

Sing your path to me
unearth what is left
ruins of my birth

[= an entrapment
    of your birth and death, I sing to you now =]

and death/
useless scrap metal

[=councilor, elder, avoider of peace=]

useless scrap metal /
to soar

[=sister=]

[—independent mining is strictly prohibited. Offenders will be punished according to ISMMG Corporation’s penal code, article XTS–z–19.—]

[=I come, I come=]

(Editors’ Note: “archival testimony fragments / minersong” is read by C. S. E. Cooney in the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, Episode 4.)

FacebookTumblrRedditPinterest

Rose Lemberg

Rose Lemberg is a queer immigrant from Eastern Europe. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed’s Queers Destroy Science Fiction special issue, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, and other venues; her poetry has won the Rannu competition, placed in the Rhysling award, and has been awarded other honors. Rose edits Stone Telling, a magazine of boundary–crossing poetry, with Shweta Narayan. She has edited Here, We Cross, an anthology of queer and genderfluid speculative poetry from Stone Telling (Stone Bird Press), and The Moment of Change, an anthology of feminist speculative poetry (Aqueduct Press), and is currently working on a new anthology, An Alphabet of Embers. Please visit Rose at http://roselemberg.net and @roselemberg! Rose also has a Patreon for her Birdverse work at http://patreon.com/roselemberg.

5 Responses to “archival testimony fragments / minersong

  1. RoseLemberg.net » Year’s Summary and Award Eligibility: Poetry

    […] “Archival Testimony Fragments/Minersong,” Uncanny, issue 2 […]

  2. Locus + Recommended + Free | J.R. Johnson

    […] Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15) ‘‘Variations on an Apple’’, Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com 10/14/15) ‘‘archival testimony fragments / minersong’’, Rose Lemberg (Uncanny 1-2/15) ‘‘The Game of Smash and Recovery’’, Kelly Link […]

  3. RoseLemberg.net » Rhysling Award nominations

    […] “Archival Testimony Fragments/minersong” (Uncanny), also on the Locus Recommended Reading list. […]

  4. 2016 Rhysling Award Nominees | File 770

    […] “archival testimony fragments / minersong” • Rose Lemberg • Uncanny 2 […]

  5. The Poetry Project: Rose Lemberg - Pretty Terrible

    […] “Archival Testimony Fragments/Minersong“, Uncanny, December 2015 […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. You can register here.